Tiruchi Corporation has decided to hire men’s self-help groups for sanitation works in the city.

The move comes in the wake of a severe shortage of manpower, especially sanitary workers, in the Corporation. The Corporation Council on Friday approved a resolution finalising the tenders called to hire men’s SHGs in each of the four zones of Srirangam, Ariyamangalam, K.Abishekapuram and Golden Rock in the city.

Some of the councillors, including M.Anbazhagan, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam floor leader and former deputy mayor, expressed misgivings over the advisability of hiring SHGs in the light of the previous experience of the Corporation in handing over the task of maintaining the bus stands and markets to voluntary organisations.

However, Corporation Commissioner V.P.Thandapani said the civic body has taken into account the problems faced in the past and also pointed out that previously voluntary organisations were hired directly though some of them employed SHGs. The SHGs, he said, would be initially hired for a short-period of three months and indicated that most of them would be engaged in cleaning up drains and other sanitation work. Based on their performance, they could be given extension.

Mr.Thandapani said 160 men’s SHG members would be hired, 40 each for the four zones. The selected members of SHGs would be allowed to be deployed for work after they were covered under Janata insurance policy.

The corporation had already forwarded a proposal to the government for privatising maintenance and sanitation works at the Central and Chathram bus stands and the Gandhi Market.

Corporation officials justify the moves pointing out that while the corporation required as many as 3,636 workers for solid waste management, it had only 1,655 workers on its rolls now. The city spread over 167.23 square km with a population of 9.16 lakhs needs another 1,981 sanitary workers. The Corporation is also taking steps to mechanise its road cleaning operations as the city had 181.22 km bus route roads and it was towards this end that a road-sweeper with water spray system is to be acquired.

The council also approved another official resolution seeking the civic body’s initiative to involve residents’ welfare associations and voluntary organisations in primary collection of solid wastes in the respective residential colonies. A committee comprising councillors from all parties would be formed to take forward the initiative.

The Corporation would also soon place orders for purchasing 250 stainless steel compactor garbage bins at an estimated cost of Rs.1.18 crore.